Genetic diversity maps to help forests survive climate change

Image credit - Mehdi Pringarbe/INRA Avignon, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Forests have a special magic for many of us. Steeped in folklore and fantasy, they are places for enchantments, mythical creatures and outlaws. But if they are to survive into the future, they may also need a helping hand from science. Globally, forests are having a tough time. Industrial logging, wildfires and deforestation for agriculture … Read more

The business of biodiversity: can we put a value on nature?

Image credit - Luca Bravo/ Unsplash

By Gareth Willmer, from Horizon Nature provides people with everything from food and water to timber, textiles, medicinal resources and pollination of crops. Now, a new approach aims to measure exactly what a specific ecosystem supplies in order to incentivise decision-makers and businesses to help combat biodiversity loss. The concept of quantifying these so-called ecosystem services, which … Read more

Bee diversity critical to world’s food supply

Image Credit - Curro Molina

by Jonathan O’Callaghan Ecosystems that contain only a few bee species underperform in terms of plant production whereas those with many different species thrive, according to research which highlights the importance of bee diversity to securing the world’s food supply. Wild bees are hugely important not only to natural environments, but also to our very way … Read more

Road upgrades to help humans drive alongside automated cars

Image credit - Pixabay/0532-2008, licensed under pixabay license

As new self-driving vehicles appear on the streets, the traffic clogging our cities and highways could get a lot worse unless the roads themselves become smarter. Automated vehicles are often lauded as the solution to Europe’s congested road networks due to their ability to drive closer together and at higher speeds than humans can do … Read more

Preparing for the outbreak: helping research swing into action in central Africa

Image credit - European Commission DG ECHO, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

By Vittoria D’Alessio When an outbreak strikes, speed is critical. Health workers must act quickly not only to contain and treat an emerging or re-emerging disease, but also to use this window to evaluate potential treatments and vaccines. And the challenge becomes even greater in sub-Saharan Africa when you’re trying to develop new approaches in the … Read more

In a picture: How this robotic tendril mimics climbing plants – Dr Barbara Mazzolai

Image credit - Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)

Plants move at a much slower rate than what we can see. They don’t have muscles so they’ve figured out different ways to move. One way is through osmosis, which shifts water in their stems to change their stiffness. What you see in the video is a robot actually using osmosis. This is very important … Read more